Living a Meaningful Life

Have I stated that how doggedly I follow TED talks. You may have watched it or you may follow it, but do you follow the TEDx talks. It’s not so hard to get the TEDx Talks feeds – just subscribe to the YouTube channel. Why?
Because before any idea comes to the global platform, it moves through the local  TEDx events.  There is much more ideas & innovations being talked about ,daily, at the TEDx events around the world. And I follow them jealously, you never know where lies an inspiring & motivating talk. Language is surely a barrier to their access, but still, you have many videos to watch in English.

Recently I watched, this TEDx Gateway video of Mr. Arunachalam Muruganantham. It was concerned with tabooed & ignored part of rural health – SANITARY PADS. First of all, hats off to A. Muruganantham, he presented his talk on such a topic with humor & jest, without making it a sad & morose talk. He started with talking about life in Black & White – he chose the White side.

[a really inspiring & innovative video]

In India, if a guy goes to medical shop ans asks for sanitary pad, its treated like with such secrecy. At least, the taboo with Condoms had reduced a bit, I hope the same happens with the pads. I have never asked for it (never had any chance to do it), though I know it will be awkward for me also. Coming back to the sanitary pads – women in rural & lower income households don’t buy the pads from the market. The pads being sold there have inflated costs as per their economic backing. In absence of any affordable pads, women make use of rag cloth, plant leafs, Husks, Saw Dust & even Ashes. The sanitary napkin usage in India is less than 5%.

So Mr. Muruganantham, a 10th class drop-out, started his mission to make affordable & considerably efficient sanitary napkins. After many trial & errors, he came up with the right process to make one. Then he went on to create a small machine which can be set-up in few thousand dollars. He came up with a new micro & decentralized model. The machine was set-up in 23 different states of India . It provided 7000 rural women with direct employment, more than 3.5 million shifted to hygienic sanitary pads – that’s called social impact (made possible by a single man’s effort). That’s a real second-White revolution. Kudos to Mr. Muruganantham on his achievement.

Steve Jobs is often taken as the role model for innovation & creativity. Even i take him for that. However, the type of role-models India needs is like Mr. Muruganantham. India has a huge population which is in dire need of affordable innovative products to solve their daily problems – health, education,employment e.t.c. The investment is a problem with money being supplied mainly to the biggies. In such scenario, coming up with such frugal innovative products, which can not only be scaled across India but can make the rural villages self-sustained.

If you ask me, how Gandhi wanted his precious village centers to develop, i would point to such initiation & products. A simple machine which can provide for the needs of a village. Also providing livelihood means to the people. That’s the ‘Charkha of Gandhi’.

The video is not only about Sanitary pads or Rural health. Nor does it only focus on the frugal innovation.
It is about saying that It is possible. Anyone can make an dent regardless of his expertise.
It is about having a culture of people concerned about such tabooed issues.
Working consistently to solve them.
It is about rural areas standing on their own & moving ahead.

As Mr. Muruganantham says – it’s about changing to a meaningful life.

Until you connect with some deeper aspects of life – meaningfulness is still afar.

I have this idea which I am nourishing inside my head. It will take more time till i share it with some-one. The only thing i can tell you is – it concerns such rural based frugal innovation. After watching the video, the idea has become little more lucid. In future, if I start with my idea – I will meet with Mr. Muruganantham & discuss about it. (That’s sure) He may be able to give me new insights into the field of social entrepreneurship. At least, he has already inspired me with this 12min TED talk of his.

Your actions do beer fruits, but the strength & nourishment to the tree is provided by the roots. And your philosophy & attitude towards life are the roots of the tree. I am on a path to form that core philosophy. Seed has been planted. The wait is for the seed to germinate & force up the soil. Then only can the strength of the roots be tested.

I don’t know whether you noticed it or not. One of the thing which i observed about Mr. Muruganantham was his philosophy towards life. Did you noticed that? Watch the video again then.

Franklin Templeton Investments partnered the TEDxGateway Mumbai in December 2012.


Arigato 🙂

[P.S – I wanted so much more to write. As it concerns to some ideas I am still working on. I chose not to put them here at this period of time. I am still at a nascent stage with loads of assumptions & foolish faithfulness. And when the ideology in question has a negative tinge to it, I better let it rest for now]


6 thoughts on “Living a Meaningful Life

  1. Social entrepreneurship is the need of the hour, in India. Steve Jobs might have been able to do wonders in US (where the per-capita income is very high), but I bet he could not have achieved so much in India.

    People like Muruganantham (whose detailed story I read in a Tamil Magazine) are the need of the hour, in India. With scale, social ventures can definitely make some decent profits. I will definitely encourage you to explore your idea further. All the best.

    Destination Infinity

  2. This man is truly an inspiration! I can imagine the flak he must have received when he was looking for a solution!! His dedication for the cause is truly commendable. The best part is that his invention is not only helping so many women lead a healthy, hygienic and comfortable life during the menstrual period but is also providing employment to so many!
    Kudos to Mr Arunachalam. May his tribe increase!

  3. Small changes and the desire to make things better can lead to so much improvement in basic living standards. A truly inspirational story and well done to you (as a man) for being brave enough to blog about it.

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